USC mislabels sexual assault to keep crime numbers low, Clery complaint says

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

University of Southern California senior Ariella Mostov wondered in May why neither the Los Angeles Police Department nor the school Department of Public Safety had attempted to contact her more than a month after she reported being sexually assaulted.

Mostov said she visited the campus Department of Public Safety to follow up, but the records manager couldn't find the crime report she had filed March 27. When the report was located later, it listed the crime as "injury response," rather than rape or sexual assault, according to a copy provided to The Huffington Post. Mostov said the campus police later told her the crime wasn't rape because the assailant didn't orgasm.

Mostov joined with several other USC students in filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against the university over the weekend, alleging violations of the Clery Act, a federal law mandating accurate and timely reporting of crime on campus, including sexual violence. Mostov said she believes her case shows USC's routine failures in responding to sexual assaults and reporting the crimes.

USC is "persistently underreporting sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape in the Annual Clery Security Report by ... categorizing instances of 'rape' as 'personal injury,' 'domestic dispute,' and other less serious crimes or non-crimes," the complaint says.

Read more »